• Merrimack Valley continues to heal with community spirit event Saturday

    By: Kirsten Glavin , Evan White

    Updated:

    LAWRENCE, Mass. - This weekend, people in Andover, North Andover and Lawrence are remembering a tragedy and coming together to heal.

    "Obviously still, bothers me thinking about it," said Heather Carroll, who lost her apartment in the blaze.

    "I actually feel terrible because my grandmother had texted me literally right as I pulled up to my house asking me if I was OK and all I texted back was oh my god, no, and left it that because, my house was gone."

    Friday marked the one-year anniversary of the Merrimack valley gas explosions where more than 80 fires erupted at homes and thousands had to evacuate because of excessive pressure in natural gas lines.

    On Saturday, people gathered for a community spirit event in Lawrence at Stadium Plaza. Rain dampened the event, but inside one of the shops at the plaza, organizers showcased a documentary created by recent Lawrence High School grads. The film focused on the natural gas explosions.

    "I feel like telling stories and seeing how a community gets affected," said Michael Tejada, a Lawrence High graduate. "I feel like it's very important to witness." 

    The spirit event began at 2 p.m. and, according to the event group, it focused about the community coming together.

    Boston 25's Kirsten Glavin spoke with an event organizer:

    This event follows Friday's remembrance and dedication to 18-year-old Leonel Rondon, who was killed that day when a chimney fell on his car. People gathered in Lawrence to dedicate Leonel Rondon Square in his honor. 

    "We feel just emptiness this sadness, this pain that is killing is inside," said Lucianny Rondon, Leonel's sister.

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